The players at the Open Championship were treated to perfect weather conditions for scoring at Royal Troon on Thursday and 50 players took advantage of those conditions to shoot under par in the first round.
Among those under par rounds was a course record and major championship record tying 63 from Phil Mickelson, that was an inch away from being a 62. Mickelson's bogey-free effort on Thursday gave him a three-shot lead heading into Friday's second round.
While 50 players went under par, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day were unable to capitalize on scoring conditions. Johnson and Spieth are in T51 at even par and Day will have to scrap in the afternoon session on Friday to make the cut as he's T94 after a 2-over 73.
The weather is expected to get significantly worse on Friday, particularly for those in the afternoon, so players that were able to take advantage of Thursday's weather and have a Friday morning round appear to have an advantage over the rest of the field.
Here is how the top of the leaderboard stacks up going into the second round:
1. Phil Mickelson (-8): Mickelson was superb on Thursday. He hit 16-of-18 greens in regulation and needed only 26 putts to get around Troon as he was lights out with the flat stick. A three-shot cushion is a lot, and he has the benefit of a morning time on Friday. Mickelson hasn't won an event since the 2013 British Open, but has put himself in great position after the first round.
T2. Patrick Reed (-5): Before Mickelson went out, the talk of the tournament was Patrick Reed's tidy 66 in the morning. He is on the wrong end of the tee time draw as he'll go out Friday afternoon, but Reed has set himself up well to go for his first career top 10 in a major.
T2. Martin Kaymer (-5): Kaymer quietly posted a 66 in the midst of the madness surrounding Phil's round. He might not have been talked about much on Thursday, but he's in terrific shape heading into a Friday morning round.
T4. Justin Thomas (-4): Thomas came out blazing with four straight birdies to open his round. He could only tread water from there, but, like Reed, he's looking to claim his first career top 10 in a major this week.
T4. Steve Stricker (-4): Shoutout to the over 40 crowd. Old, crafty vets tend to play well at British Opens so long as they're rolling the rock well and Stricker fits that bill. He had a very nice 67 on Thursday and will look to keep it up on Friday.
T4. Billy Horschel (-4): Another sneakily strong round on Thursday came from Horschel, who's highlight was a near-ace on the tiny par-3 8th, known as The Postage Stamp. Horschel is a mercurial player, but when on, he can light it up.
T4. Tony Finau (-4): Finau put up a bogey-free round in an impressive showing from the young bomber. We'll see if he can keep up the strong play, but for his first round ever in a British Open, it was a pretty good start.
T4. Soren Kjeldsen (-4): Kjeldsen hit 13-of-14 fairways and needed only 23 putts on Thursday. That's a good combination to have.
T4. Andy Sullivan (-4): The lone Englishman in the top 10 is Andy Sullivan, who had an eventful day with seven birdies and three bogeys. He and Justin Rose (-3) appear to be the two Englishman with the best chance to take home The Open title after the first round.
T4. Zach Johnson (-4): The defending Open champion got off to a great start in 2016 with a 67. He'll be a bit disappointed that he closed with two bogeys that took him out of second alone, but he still had a strong start to a championship defense.
T4. Keegan Bradley (-4): It's great to see Bradley back up near the top of the leaderboard at a major. He's had serious putting woes since the anchored putter ban, but has seemed to have figured something out as he had only 29 putts on Thursday.
T12: Sergio Garcia (-3)
T22: Rickie Fowler (-2)
T22: Rory McIlroy (-2)
T22: Adam Scott (-2)
T35: Bubba Watson (-1)
T51: Jordan Spieth (E)
T51: Dustin Johnson (E)
T94: Jason Day (+2)
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